Carmull.

I’m not a gourmet, not even a little bit sometimes (BK for dinner last night, y’all, and peanut butter toast for breakfast). Not all my baking experiments work out either; I wish I could afford a fancy pâtisserie course, or even a breadmaking one, but it’s not in the budget at the moment. Or possibly ever. So I’ll continue experimenting and hope something good comes out of it.

I brought some of the cupcakes to Euchre night, and there talked about having had quiche on Easter. ‘Oh, where did you buy them?’, asked Paul in his annoying, might-as-well-be-winking voice. He also likes to ask me for cake mix recommendations. Har har. I don’t use mixes. It’s not that I don’t approve of them, and maybe some circumstances would find them useful, but mostly I find them unnecessary for my purposes. Besides, I use jarred pasta sauce, frozen fruit, tinned peas, and, occasionally, gasp!, pre-made pie crusts (along with other things) to simplify my cooking life. I can’t afford to be too precious or too snobby — I’m but a poor cinema manager with limited time. Also, some stuff is just beyond my skill — better to leave it to the experts/machines.

Nonetheless, my snobby nature does come out quite a lot, even when I’m sitting eating peanut butter toast for breakfast (and I didn’t even grind the peanuts myself). But because I both revel in and loathe hypocrisy, I’m having a tiny love affair with Sandra Lee.

I am in awe of some of my baking friends, because they do a much better job than I do on a lot of things, but I, along with hundreds/thousands/millions, love to gawp at Sandra Lee’s ‘cooking’ and ‘baking’ (usually involving 18lbs of store-bought icing — which just seems expensive to me — why not just buy the fucking cake, eh?) and wonder how she’s so slim. She’s that lady who did that Kwanzaa cake that made the world collectively vomit out of shame and confusion and cornnuts. The stylist/recipe creator has mea culpaed a bit, at least.

Every now and again, though, instead of getting ready for work, or studying trivia, or baking something delicious of my own, I get sucked into a YouTube vortex of WTF and watch most (if not all) of the back catalogue of Sandra Lee videos. Some are truly astonishing (though the garlic fries sounds great), like the Italian Wedding Cake, but I think it’s her amazing lack of tastebuds and stupendous lactose (and liquor (luh-koor)) tolerance that are most fascinating these days. She likes a cocktail with heavy cream, a lot of booze, and not much else. The most disgusting of all is ‘The Noteworthy’, which she describes as ‘refreshing’.

Holy crap, woman, there is no way on Earth that that is refreshing. Disgusting, yes. Stomach-churning, yes. Refreshing, absolutely not.

Also? She is NY Governor Cuomo’s lady love and lives (probably) in the Gubenatorial mansion. I wonder how her Italian-American mother-in-law equivalent feels about this kind of thing.

Oof.

At the same time, hidden amongst the WTF are some sorta good tips? Chilling a cake before icing was something I hadn’t heard before, and I didn’t realise that two shots of vodka involves about fifteen glugs. And I can’t begrudge her (some) of her successes because goodness, she is entertaining. And no, I don’t have a conclusion here aside from ‘If you have better things to do, don’t watch a video, because then you will watch ten others, and then you will be late for work.’

Bon appétit, y’all!

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